Gold Coast ex-pats show support for Ihumātao

By Regan Paranihi

Dozens of Māori living and working on Australia's Gold Coast have come together to perform a haka to show their support for those manning the front lines of Ihumātao.

A call was put out to the Brisbane and Gold Coast community to stand in solidarity with Ihumātao.

Event organiser and Ihumātao descendant, Tiria Rakena says, "It was to stand with iwi Māori here that are living in Australia and know the kaupapa at home, so bringing us together in unity."

Descendants of the whenua who reside on this side of the Tasman believe that this is a way that they can show their support.

"This is our way of bringing the community together at a time like this and also to let our whānau know that we are with them," says Rakena.

Justine Dillion from the local indigenous tribe came out to show her support for the kaupapa, as this is a similar fight to the one her ancestors fought.

"We can definitely sympathise with developments on traditional sites. We have many sites here on the coast, along main highways and [that] are tourist sites and parks and there's bones buried under the ground and they're not heritage listed, and it's hard for our people to connect to those areas."

Rakena says that it is times like this where they wish they were at home.

"I think it's more so the history that's behind it."

Queensland Māori Society kaumātua, Tu Thompson says this is a kaupapa many living abroad want to be a part of.

"Stick with the kaupapa, hold onto those ways of our people because, definitely, our people here want to support our people at home."

"This is actually a really beautiful culture like the aboriginal culture. There is lots of beauty, lots of passion and it's something worth fighting for," says Dillion.

"It's our home and it's what we have left so we stand with our whānau," says Rakena.

Despite living afar, these descendants continue to support the many battles of the homeland.